Maryland Filmmaker Receives $25K Grant From American Express
Documentary film director and author, Alyscia Cunningham, is one of 100 black, woman-owned businesses to be awarded the grant from the credit card giant.
SILVER SPRING, MD — American Express has selected Silver Spring native and talented filmmaker/author, Alyscia Cunningham, as one its “100 for 100” program grant recipients. The credit card giant created the program in partnership with IFundWomen of Color, the leading platform for women of color to raise capital, to support Black women entrepreneurs as they work to jump start and grow their business ventures.
The initiative is part of the financial company’s recently announced $1 billion action plan to enhance diverse representation and promote equal opportunities for its colleagues, customers and communities.
“The Black women entrepreneurs selected for the program have created many types of innovative, early-stage businesses across the country, inspiring and carving new paths for others to follow,” said Clayton Ruebensaal, EVP Global B2B Marketing, American Express. “Their business plans demonstrate that great ideas often come out in times of hardship, and American Express is committed to continuing to back small businesses and advance equal opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly during these challenging times.”
According to Cunningham, she plans to use the $25,000 grant to fund her upcoming art exhibition, which is scheduled to take place on March 17, 2021 in Sandy Spring, MD. The event will feature 3D tactile portraits accompanied by audio descriptions from her inspirational book, I Am More Than My Hair. The book tells the stories of brave women living with the debilitating skin condition known as alopecia, a common autoimmune condition, in which hair follicles are damaged by a misguided immune system. The filmmaker hopes her documentary changes the way people view beauty and female hair loss.
Cunningham said her ability to reach even more people through her upcoming art exhibition is all possible thanks to the generous grant she recently received. American Express worked closely with IFundWomen of Color to select and surprise 100 unique and passionate innovators, such as Cunningham, across a number of different industries including fashion and beauty, food and beverage, finance, fitness and wellness, home goods and apparel, technology, social-good and more.
“When iFundWomen of Color and American Express team shared the news with me that I won the grant, I shed tears of joy and relief,” Cunningham said. “Creating an accessible exhibit isn’t something that is often considered because just like me, other artists, museums, and galleries don’t know where to start. I often wondered how I could raise over $30,000 for my exhibition. The impact that iFundWomen and American Express has created for me and the other grant winners is immense. I can now make my upcoming exhibition at Sandy Spring Museum accessible for everyone.”
The “100 for 100” program is part of American Express’ broader commitment to provide access to capital and financial education to at least 250,000 Black-owned small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. by the end of 2024, to help them navigate today’s environment and thrive into the future.
Learn more about the “100 for 100” program at AmericanExpress.com/100for100.
To learn more about the filmmaker and her latest projects, visit http://www.alyscia.com/.
ABOUT ALYSCIA CUNNINGHAM: Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, Alyscia Cunningham is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, filmmaker and photographer with contributions to National Geographic, Discovery Channel, America Online and the Smithsonian Institution. After the success of Cunningham’s first book, Feminine Transitions: A Photography Celebration of Natural Beauty, she continues her contribution to social change with her new book and documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair.
Alyscia Cunningham, filmmaker and author
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